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Volunteers work to clean up Mid-Michigan cemeteries for Memorial Day Weekend

Mid-Michigan cemeteries in need of repairs
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Cemeteries across Michigan will receive a lot of foot traffic on Memorial Day Weekend.

That means there will be a lot of people seeing graves in a bad state of disrepair. For those visiting to honor fallen American soldiers, they may not like what they see.

As cemeteries age, they will need some repairs, which is why cemetery caretakers are especially busy ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.

Loretta Stanaway dedicates her time to protecting and restoring Mid-Michigan cemeteries and she’s been very busy.

“The biggest things are the lawnmowing and weed whacking,” Stanaway said. “And the placement of flags for the veterans.”

She said there are notable names in Lansing’s cemeteries -- both civilian and military.

“General Logan was commander who created the concept of Memorial Day,” Stanaway said.

More than 4,000 flags will be placed between Lansing’s three city-owned cemeteries. With some dating back to the Civil War era, their legacy is lasting but their headstones are worn.

“That’s a big thing as far as in an aging cemetery when you’re talking about something that needs to last forever and really nothing lasts forever,” said Lansing Parks and Recreation director Brett Kaschinske.

As the cemeteries age, headstone repairs aren’t always possible because the city doesn’t own them. It’s up to the families to maintain them.

“That’s something we allow for families to do but it is their responsibility,” Kaschinske said. “They purchase it and they need to maintain it.”

If families are long gone, headstone can sit for years before getting attention. Stanaway has helped restore multiple headstones in Lansing and she said they have a lot of work to do, but she’s hopeful that more history can be restored by next Memorial Day.

The City of Lansing will hold its Memorial Day flower tribute Saturday. The Wreath Presentation will be held at Little Arlington within the Evergreen Cemetery at noon.

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